Named after the patron saint of pâtissiers, Gâteau Saint Honoré is a pillarstone of French pâtisserie. It combines a number of key techniques - puff pastry, choux pastry and pastry cream, not to mention assembling the cake. Traditionally the Saint Honoré is a show-stopper choux pastry sitting on a base of puff pastry, decorated with pastry cream, Chantilly cream and caramel choux buns.
All the top pâtisseries have developed their own iconic versions of the Saint Honoré with original presentation and innovative flavour combinations. Ours is a raspberry and pistachio extravaganza using pure pistachio paste to flavour the pastry cream, and raspberry powder to make raspberry jelly discs to decorate each choux bun. The raspberry jelly discs do away with the tedious (and sometimes painful) task of having to ice the choux buns with molten caramel. Agar agar powder sets the jelly without detracting from the burst of pure raspberry flavour.
Gâteau Saint Honoré should ideally be made and eaten on the same day. However, the puff pastry and choux pastry can be assembled and frozen before baking. Just add 5 minutes to the cooking time from frozen.
For the puff pastry base Serves: 4
- 230g ready rolled puff pastry
For the choux pastry
- 250g water
- 100g butter, in cubes, plus a little extra for greasing
- 3.75g salt
- 7.5g sugar
- 150g plain flour, sifted
- 225g eggs (around 4 large eggs)
For the pistachio and raspberry pastry creams
For the finishing touches
To make the puff pastry base
- Unroll the puff pastry from its packaging. Use a 20cm circular cake tin base or circular cardboard cut out and a sharp knife to cut a 20cm circle out of the pastry. Use a 9cm disc or cut out to make 4 9cm circles.
- Transfer the pastry to a baking tray covered in baking parchment. Prick the pastry with a fork and refrigerate until you have made the choux pastry.
To make the choux pastry
- Preheat the oven to 210°C, 200°C for a fan oven.
- Lightly grease a baking tray with a knob of butter.
- Heat the water, milk, butter, salt and caster sugar in a pan until the butter has melted.
- Away from the heat immediately tip in the flour and, using a wooden spoon, beat to combine.
- Move the pan back over a low heat, and stir the mixture (known as a ‘panade’) until it comes away easily from the sides of the pan.
- Remove from the heat, tip into a bowl and stir for 2-3 minutes until the mixture cools enough to add the egg.
- Add half the eggs in one go and beat vigorously to combine. Then slowly add the remaining egg, little by little – you may not need to use all of it! Keep checking the consistency. The mixture is ready when it looks very silky, and will drop from a spoon held at an angle above the mixture – ‘dropping consistency’ . It shouldn’t be runny.
- Place the 12mm nozzle in the piping bag and fill with the mixture. Pipe a circle of choux pastry around the circumference of the large pastry circle, 1 cm from the end.
- Pipe 13 choux buns 3cm in diameter.
- Pipe a loose spiral shape in the middle of the circle. Be sure to leave plenty of puff pastry uncovered as it will be filled with the pistachio pastry cream.
- Place the 8mm nozzle over the 12mm nozzle and pipe a similar circle around the circumference of the small pastry circles. Instead of a spiral in the middle pipe a single choux about 1.5cm in diameter.
- Pipe 16 small choux buns 1.5cm in diameter.
- Use the remaining egg and a pastry brush to lightly tap the surface of the choux pastry.
- Bake at 200°C for 20-25 minutes for the small Saint Honorés, 12-15 minutes for the small choux buns, 35-40 minutes for the large Saint Honoré and 17-20 minutes for the large choux buns. Be sure not to open the oven for the first ten minutes as the choux pastry may deflate.
To make the pistachio and raspberry pastry creams
- Place the milk and roughly half the sugar in a pan and bring to the boil.
- Meanwhile mix together the remaining sugar with the corn flour or custard powder. Add the egg yolk and mix with a whisk to make a thick paste.
- Pour a small amount of the boiling milk over the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Add it to the rest of the milk and return to the hob over a medium heat, whisking constantly. When it starts to boil reduce the heat whilst continuing to whisk for a minute in order to pasteurise the cream.
- Separate 350g of pastry cream into a bowl and stir in the pistachio paste.
- Add the raspberry powder to the remaining pastry cream.
- Pour the pastry creams onto separate baking trays or plates covered in cling film. Cover with another layer of cling film and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- Use a small round 8mm nozzle to make a small hole in the flat underside of the choux buns.
- Place the same nozzle in a piping bag and fill with the raspberry pastry cream.
- Hold the choux in one hand and use your dominant hand to pipe the cream into the choux.
- Scrape away any excess that comes out of the holes and refrigerate.
- Meanwhile pipe the pistachio pastry cream into the centre of the Saint Honorés. Use a spatula to flatten the top so that it comes just in line with the choux pastry circle around the edge.
To make the raspberry jelly discs
- Cover a flat baking tray in cling film.
- In a small pan mix together the raspberry powder and the water, using a whisk to make sure it all dissolves.
- Use a high accuracy weighing scale to measure the agar agar powder. Mix with the sugar.
- Add the sugar/agar mixture to the raspberry liquid. Bring to the boil then pour onto the baking tray.
- Leave to cool for a couple of minutes. Then cover with another layer of cling film and use a rolling pin to roll the jelly out to a thickness of 1mm.
- Refridgerate until set.
To assemble the Saint Honorés
- First, use small pastry cutters to cut circles in the raspberry jelly.
- Place the jelly circle ontop of the flat side of each choux bun, using any left over pastry cream to secure to make it stick.
- Using an electric whisk to whip up the cream, icing sugar and vanilla paste. Be careful not to over whisk.
- Fill a piping bag with the cream and pipe a large spiral design on the top of the large Saint Honoré. Use a star-shaped nozzle to pipe a rosette on the small Saint Honorés.
- Decorate the large Saint Honoré with 12 of the large choux buns, leaving one for the middle. Decorate the small Saint Honoré with 3 small choux buns around the edge and one in the middle.
- Scatter with slivered pistachios and serve ideally on the same day, or within two days.